The next morning Shelley and I arrived at Fort Bragg, California. Here we planned on visiting the Glass Sand Beach. After a short walk from the parking area, we arrived at the glass sand beach at low tide.
While at the Glass Sand Beach, I wanted to capture the texture of the beach with no sky or water in the composition. So, I turned my camera to the ground and focused on the sands. The sands are, or were at least along this portion of the beach, smoothed pieces of broken glass intermixed with beach stones. I made this photograph at ISO 100, 17mm, f/4.5, at 1/200 of a second.
Tides of Mist – Glass Sand Beach
There were two other photographs that I wanted to make while here. The first was a composition where the waves and clouds began to blur. By using a shutter speed of 161 seconds, I was able to achieve this. In this composition, I also wanted more depth of field without the need for focus stacking. I used an aperture of F/22. As with all of my photographs, I wanted the least amount of noise in the image, so I used the lowest possible ISO, which for the Nikon D600 is ISO100. As for the post-processing of the image, I had to remove dust spots that were imparted in the image from the camera’s sensor. During post-processing, I also increased the contrast, decreased the highlights a little, brought up the shadows, and added a little clarity as well as vibrance.
Breakers – Glass Sand Beach
Breakers – Glass Sand Beach was the second composition that I really wanted to make while at this location. For Breakers, I totally reversed my thought process. I knew that I wanted to capture the waves and freeze them. For this, I needed a faster shutter speed. So, I went with 1/1000 of a second. I also opened up my aperture to f/4.5. The post-processing on this photograph is not as straight forward as Tides of Mist. I used a graduated filter in Lightroom and controlled the effect by using a Luminance range mask.
Looking for Lunch – Glass Sand Beach
Looking for Lunch was not a planned or pre-trip imagined composition. It was one of those photographs that just comes to me while on a location. Here we were walking around the beach at low tide, and a lone seagull was doing the same. Although his intention was most likely finding something for lunch. For this composition, I was thinking of an environmental portrait of the seagull. I wanted the seagull to be seen in the landscape. So, I set my zoom lens to 68mm to give the gull space to live in. I had just finished making Breakers – Glass Sand Beach and my shutter speed was still set at 1/1000 of a second. And my aperture was still at f/4.5, which at the distance that the gull was from me, still meant that most of the photograph would be critically sharp.
After making the photograph of the seagull looking for lunch, our time at the Glass Sand Beach was done. We had a schedule to keep and a long way to drive along winding California Highway 1. Our next stop was Point Arena Lighthouse.
Please check out the corresponding video over on my YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVEf9aXoQMPTAVTztNkNIxg.